Eyes, Vision and the Children’s Surgical Centre

March 23, 2023

The ability to see is something that most people take for granted; however, for many who come to the doors of the Children’s Surgical Centre it is something that they live without. Spending time with the ophthalmology team and their patients on the second floor of the CSC building has been an incredible experience.

Every morning, numerous patients of all ages come to the CSC ophthalmology department from across Cambodia. For some patients, it is obvious that their vision is impaired, and they are guided by their families who have made the long trip with them. For others, they have come in wearing dark sunglasses, a sign that they’ve recently undergone procedures to improve their vision. Together they all remove their sandals at the stairs leading up to the second floor and sit together on the benches in the waiting are. The days within the ophthalmology department can be hectic as streams of patient move in and out of the waiting area into the consultation rooms. In this waiting room, children from all corners of Cambodia play with one another as they wait to see the CSC eye doctors.

Inside the consultation rooms, large complex machines are skilfully used by the doctors to look at patient’s eyes and to determine what can be done to help them. As a medical student, I am always amazed by the world that these machines reveal in the eyes of patients. Looking through the eyepieces of these machines you see all manners of shapes and colours. I felt deeply impressed by the ability of the doctors’, both senior and trainees, to spot the subtlest changes in the eyes of patients and their creative ways of helping patients see.

In the ophthalmology operating room, I saw a whole different side to medicine and surgery from the one to which I was normally accustomed to. Seeing the high-powered microscopes and minuscule tools needed to perform eye surgeries were completely new to me, as was the level of precision needed to fix the retina or lenses of damaged eyes. The level of hand-eye coordination required in these procedures was astonishing.

Seeing the joy of patients whose vision had been improved immensely has been one of the highlights of being at CSC. Knowing that they can now go back to school or work, or enjoy time with their families, is a great feeling.

Author: Will Wong

Hi, my name’s Will and I visited CSC as a final-year medical student from the UK, for 6 weeks between February and March 2023. My time at CSC has nourished my interest in surgery, global health and paediatrics. In my free time, I like to cook, listen to soul music, and read non-fiction books.

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